Are you worried your dog might have arthritis? Sadly, arthritis is very common in older dogs, and some breeds are more predisposed to it than others as well. Even though arthritis is common, however, that doesn’t mean it’s unmanageable, so it’s important to work with a vet as soon as possible to help your dog.

In the article below, we’ll show you some of the most common symptoms of arthritis in dogs. You can use this information to help narrow down the possibilities of your dog’s condition and figure out what to talk to your veterinarian about as well. If you have any questions, call Blue Cross Pet Hospital in North Hollywood at (818) 980-1313.

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Stiffness on Waking

One of the earliest symptoms of arthritis in dogs is stiffness when waking up. If your dog has been asleep for a long time, then wakes up and has trouble standing up, this may mean arthritis is beginning to set in.

You can help your dog by providing an orthopedic dog bed. Some dogs may also feel better on waking if they have a warming mat to sleep on, but this may overheat other breeds. Talk to your vet for more suggestions about how to manage this symptom of arthritis.

Less Mobility

Dogs who have arthritis will be less mobile than they were before the disease set in. Mobility and range of motion decrease significantly with the onset and progression of arthritis, just like they do in humans. For example, your dog may not be able to jump on the bed or sofa with you anymore, even if they could in the past.

You can help your dog by providing alternatives to situations where they might lose some mobility. If you want them to still join you on the sofa, for example, you can purchase a ramp or steps for them to use. Otherwise, you can provide a comfortable bed on the floor instead.

Less Desire to Play or Exercise

Dogs with arthritis will naturally be less interested in exercise and playtime than they used to be. This is because it hurts and is difficult for these dogs to get up and move around the way they did when they were younger. Lethargy may also accompany this symptom, but not always.

Keep in mind that your dog’s energy levels may also naturally diminish as they get older, and this is fairly normal. As long as the change isn’t sudden and they don’t seem to be in pain, they may not have arthritis or other health problems contributing to them slowing down.

Visible Swelling

Visible swelling of the joints may signify arthritis, especially when the problem has advanced to a moderate or severe level. Arthritic joints may swell after your dog has been active or depending on the weather in some instances. This symptom is almost always accompanied by pain and stiffness in the same joints.

Swollen joints, however, can also mean other problems. This symptom can be associated with some tickborne illnesses, tumors, and viral infections. Your vet will need to check your dog to find out what the cause of the swollen joints might be. However, arthritis is by far the most common.

Pain When Touched

If your dog seems to be in worse pain when they are touched or picked up, this may mean they’ve got arthritis. Picking up or touching a dog who is suffering from arthritis pain in their joints can cause them to yelp, whine, or may even cause them to snap if the pain is very severe.

Pain when touched may also be a sign of injury or tumors. It’s important to have your vet check your dog out thoroughly if they seem to be in pain when you touch them, as there are many potential causes.


Dogs who hide without any obvious reason are usually in pain or feeling sick. This is a defense mechanism and can be found in other animals aside from just dogs. If your dog doesn’t normally hide but has started doing so, this may mean they are hurting.

It’s important to rule out other potential problems if you think your dog is hiding from pain. There could be a variety of issues going on aside from just arthritis.

With the help of this information, you should be able to figure out when it’s time to talk to your vet. If you think your dog is suffering from arthritis, it’s better to go to the vet sooner rather than later. The quicker you have your dog diagnosed, the more likely you will be to help them manage their pain.

Advanced stages of arthritis may not be able to be managed. Arthritis is a degenerative disease, which means your dog will eventually become worse even with medication. However, your vet can help you figure out the best solution to help your dog live a full, happy life. Call us today at (818) 980-1313.